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Seafaring has always been an interesting but has potentials of risk involved. Long voyages, extreme weather conditions,
illnesses and accidents can take a heavy toll on the health of crew members. Not only are they
exposed to greater risk, seafarers are also isolated from the usual sources of medical care and
assistance available to people on shore.
WHO has consistently strived to improve the health of people at their place of work. When
people also live in their work environment – as seafarers must – they face particular risks
to their health. Practical guidance is essential for those who must provide assistance when
seafarers fall ill or are injured. Since its fi rst publication by WHO in 1967, the I nternational
Medical Guide for Ships has been the standard source of such guidance.
The second edition, written in 1988, was translated into more than 30 languages, and has
been used in tens of thousands of ships. This, the third edition, contains fully updated
recommendations aimed to promote and protect the health of seafarers. This edition is also
consistent with the latest revisions of both the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the
International Health Regulations (2005).
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 stipulates
that all ships shall carry a medicine chest, medical equipment and a medical guide. The
International Medical Guide for Ships supports a main principle of that Convention: to ensure
that s eafarers are given health protection and medical care as comparable as possible to that
which is generally available to workers ashore, including prompt access to the necessary
medicines, medical e quipment and facilities for diagnosis and treatment and to medical
information and expertise.
The Convention states that ships carrying 100 or more persons and ordinarily engaged on
international voyages of more than three days’ duration shall carry a qualifi ed medical doctor
who is responsible for providing medical care. Ships which do not carry a m edical doctor
shall be required to have either at least one seafarer on board who is in charge of medical care
and administering medicine as part of their regular duties or at least one s eafarer on board
competent to provide medical fi rst aid. Persons in charge of medical care on board who are
not medical doctors shall have satisfactorily completed training in medical care that meets
the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certifi cation and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers. The International Medical Guide for Ships is a standard reference
for these training courses, and is designed for use by all crew members charged with providing
medical care on board.
Seafarers need to be healthy and hence to pass the Preemployment medicals before the job is offered.

For further details

Dr.Ashok Kapoor 00971504505865dubai www.getwelluae.com

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